Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘glassblower’

jesse-taylor

Photo: Kelly Howard
At Lincoln City Glass Center, a glassblower melts down objects made of clear glass to keep the studio supplied during a glass shortage — the unintentional consequence of environmental regulations and high demand from large overseas companies.

When I read recently about the closing of a glass-recycling center in Massachusetts, I didn’t have the imagination to consider all the causes or all the consequences.  What I did learn at the time was that beer companies were not using glass bottles as much and were moving to cans. That was all I knew.

Come to find out, thanks to the Law of Unintended Consequences, environmental regulations are having an effect on the amount of glass pellets available for a range of traditional purposes — including the glassblower’s art.

Lori Tobias writes at Oregon ArtsWatch, “On the Oregon Coast, creating a work of glass art is a bucket-list favorite, and there’s plenty of places to make that happen. But recent weeks have stressed some mom-and-pop glassblowing studios to the point of, well, a meltdown. It seems there’s just not enough glass to go around.

“Robin and William Murphy, owners of the Oregon Coast Glassworks in Newport, ran into problems earlier this month when they tried to buy a new supply of ‘cullet’ glass – furnace-ready recycled glass pellets that glassblowers turn into floats, bowls, and other art. There was ‘no glass anywhere available for purchase,’ Robin Murphy said. Nor would there be any until November, they were told. The shortage seems to be the culmination of stricter environmental laws, which led to a cutback in suppliers, compounded most recently by heavy demands on an overseas supplier.

“The Murphys have launched a fundraising raffle – of a glass sea turtle crafted by William – to help finance a new furnace that will melt ‘batch,’ a pelletized powder that is an alternative to cullet. It requires a natural gas furnace or what’s known in the industry as a ‘moly’ (short for molybdenum) furnace – a piece of equipment that generally comes with a price tag ranging from $30,000 to $50,000. The Murphys have a less expensive wire-melt furnace, but it doesn’t get hot enough to melt batch. …

“Oregon Coast Glassworks isn’t the only small shop facing the shortage. The Edge Art Gallery in South Beach is also experiencing it, as is the Lincoln City Glass Center. One of the largest of the dozen or so glassblowers on the central and north Coast with 21 employees, the Glass Center does have a ‘moly’ furnace, capable of melting batch or cullet. Owner and glass artist Kelly Howard prefers to use cullet, but she also has been unable to get any.

“Most glassblowers agree that the problem can be traced to 2016, when the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the federal Environmental Protection Agency imposed stricter regulations on glass manufacturers, ultimately prompting the closure of two major suppliers. One was Spectrum, based in Woodinville, Wash., which supplied glass products for 40 years to many Pacific Northwest artists. Bullseye Glass Co. of Portland survived the crack-down, but does not provide the type of glass used by glass blowers.

“With Spectrum gone, glass blowing studios turned to a German manufacturer, Cristalica, which is distributed through Olympic Color Rods, headquartered in Seattle. But this summer, Cristalica failed to keep up with demand, in part because of the heavy use of existing equipment.

“Howard said she heard the German company had a furnace go down a couple of weeks ago ‘and didn’t give anyone a warning. They said there is no more, and what they had was all given to the big companies. All of the rest us didn’t get any.’ ”

More here. Raffle tickets for the sea turtle are available for $50 here or by calling the studio at 541-574-8226. The winner will be chosen Sept. 2. No more than 500 tickets will be sold.

sea-turtle-face

Read Full Post »

Around this time last year, I alerted you (here) to a treasure hunt for hand-blown glass floats. I never ran into anyone who found one, but they must have done, as the tourism council is back at it again this year.

Glassblower Eben Horton has once more hidden floats off the beaten path, including a special float with gold leaf.

The tourism council explains it all for you.

WHAT: 400 Glass Floats (glass orbs about the size of a grapefruit) will be hidden on Block Island. Floats will be dated, numbered and stamped with the shape of Block Island. All floats are clear glass except for 13 (because it is 2013), which are special colored orbs. One super special float is made entirely out of gold leaf.

WHERE: Floats will be hidden on the beaches and on the Greenway Trails. They will be above the high tide mark but NEVER in the dunes or up the side of the bluffs. They will be within one foot of either side of any Greenway trail they are placed on.More.

3/5/14 Update: Suzanne e-mailed me about a Kickstarter campaign for the glass float project. Check it out here.

Photo of glassblower Eben Horton: The Tourism Council

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: